DeLay's Ethics

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The House ethics committee unanimously concluded yesterday that Majority Leader Tom DeLay appeared to link political donations to a legislative favor and improperly persuaded U-S aviation authorities to intervene in a Texas political dispute.

The committee's findings were an extraordinary second rebuke in six days for one of the nation's most partisan political leaders and most successful money-raisers. The committee of five Democrats and five Republicans reached no conclusions on an allegation that DeLay violated Texas campaign finance rules. Instead, the panel delayed action pending an investigation by state authorities.

Three DeLay associates were indicted last month in that probe.

DeLay said he considered the complaint against him dismissed, but accepted the committee's findings.